Holding Forth

Published on August 26th, 2014 | by Richard Black


The Horror, the Horror of the 1980’s Revisited

Many of us laid back and took the 80s something like this

I was at a bar a few nights ago, a nice little Welsh pub I visit whenever the wife wants to watch a reality TV show about flipping homes or flipping Kardashians or flipping Kardashians over homes or something along that line. I’d just settled down to a beer or two when I noticed that my bartender had forgone her three foot chestnut locks for an asymmetrical haircut. A few minutes later I noted that a large number of men in the place were wearing pastel shirts and madras shorts.  Some more time passed. I downed a few more beers and then realized that a good portion of the bar were bobbing their heads to Ratt’s “Round and Round” and that they were DOING IT UNIRONICALLY!!!

My most loathed decade had returned.

I’m certain it’s been happening for a while. I’ve noticed the odd pair of skinny jeans as well as the occasional mullet but I thought it was a passing phase. Apparently I was wrong. Fashion, like syphilis, is an insidious condition.  After popping up in an alarming chancre it disappears, biding it’s time for a few decades, maybe waiting for you to have unprotected sex with this girl you met at a bar and then BAM, it’s five years later, your nose is rotting off and your wearing a tight pair of jeans and rocking a “flock of Seagulls” haircut.

I didn’t care for the 80’s the first time around and time has not softened my opinion. Sure the decade was great in a few small ways. Fake IDs were plentiful and anyone with a modicum of hair on their upper lip could pick up a carton of Camels but that’s about it.

Drugs in the 80’s were simply awful. Weed was so weak that the general rule of thumb was that you had to smoke it a few times to get high. There’s a reason people were conned into buying a quarter ounce of oregano in that day and age and that’s largely because you could get a better high by smoking grass clippings than the dime bag you bought off some idiot in study hall.

The average cokehead during the 1980s

Coke was the worst assuming you could score some. Most of it was baking soda if you were lucky or cut with Comet Cleanser if you weren’t. Even if you didn’t end up with a batch of flour mixed with Raid cocaine was a horrible drug, at least, it was if you weren’t on it. Every asshole who put a line up his nose immediately became the most obnoxious individual within a five mile radius and couldn’t stop screaming  “How fucking cool is this!!!” through a set of clenched teeth.

Music was also dreadful. It really was and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently. Sure there were some good bands but they rarely got any airplay outside of a few major metropolitan areas. Classic rock was a big draw back in the 80’s and that’s because music during that decade, from a purely quantitative standpoint, sucked. We listened to the The Who because we didn’t want to listen to Def Leppard or Poison. We listened to Led Zepplin because we couldn’t stand Gloria Estafan or Simply Red.  The names were terrible as well. Kajagoogoo? Bananarama? These are the uttering of a toddler after a double dose of cough syrup, not a name for a band.

I had a buddy, not a good buddy but a buddy, who flipped his Trans Am while racing a train. He wasn’t a bright guy and he did manage to get past the crossing without incident but shortly after needlessly cheating death he rolled his car a few times into a ditch. The poor bastard was stuck for nine hours before help arrived and to make matters worse Wham’s first album was wedged in his tape deck. He doesn’t talk much anymore or even move really. He drinks most of his meals through a tube these days and while I can’t say that listening to  “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” 18 billion times made him a quadriplegic I’m certain it didn’t help.

Fashion was horrible as well and the most offensive bit of it was, perhaps, the skinny pair of pants. There were approximately 400 people who looked good in a pair of spandex or a tight set of denim in the 1980s and most of them had an eating disorder. Everyone else flounced around with a camel toe or a moose knuckle until the fashion industry created, out of necessity, the over sized sweater and sweatshirt. The upside was that the general public was saved from seeing the unsightly outlines of every passing pudenda. Unfortunately every also suddenly looked like Refrigerator Perry with really skinny legs.

Balls or ass? You make the call. The 80s were a confusing time for many of us and it wasn’t unusual to find oneself groping a pair of balls instead of a cooter. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Menswear for the most part in those days was also pretty deplorable. This was the day and age of madras sport coats, pastel “slacks” and boat shoes because everyone, presumably, wanted to be attired appropriately in the event they’re asked to jump aboard the nearest schooner at the drop of a hat.

And now the haircuts are coming back. The mullet has always been alive and well in the Deep South but I’ve seen it making inroads into the Midwest and further north. The ladies are even getting on board and now look like thye’ve hacked off their bangs with a pair of rusty garden shears.  Sure it’s a bit fetching. I’ve always been a fan of the unkempt look. In the past a woman who can’t be troubled to take care of her hair is most likely a woman with low self esteem and even lower standards which, back in the day, equated to a woman who might let me touch her where she pees from.

These days I find the look unsettling. Even a bit creepy.There’s nothing that makes me feel more uncomfortable than when I look at some 20-something and realize that the last time I saw the same look was on a twelve year old almost 30 years ago. I had my issues with the 90s but at least when baggy pants and flannel role around they’ll remind me of women who were, at the very least, of legal age.

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